He was staring down at me, and even though I couldn’t see his eyes, I could feel his gaze, it was that intense. “I had a really good time tonight.”

“So did I.” I was breathless as I opened the door and stepped inside. When I turned to him and looked up once more, whatever I was about to say faded, lost in the space between us.

There was a certain intent to the line of his mouth, and I knew before he even lowered his head, that he was going to kiss me. The breath I took got stuck in my throat as he cupped my cheek with one hand, tilting my head back. He brushed his lips over mine like he had done the night before, tentative and questioning. There was something so sweet about the kiss as we stood with me just inside the door and him leaning in.

Last night had been the first time I’d been kissed in four years. This being the second time, instinct quickly took over. Or maybe it was simply just arousal. Pleasure darted as I tilted my head to the side, and when the tip of his tongue touched the seam of my mouth, sweetness was the furthest thing from my mind.

The kiss deepened as our tongues tangled. My hands ended up on his chest and his delved into my hair as his arm circled my waist, drawing me tight to his front. I felt him then, hard against my belly, and feeling just how effected he was had my blood simmering.

The fear of things escalating took a backseat, still there but not consuming my attention. I couldn’t think around his kisses, could barely breathe, and somehow, we were moving. I heard the door slam shut behind us and then my back was pressed against the wall and there was no space between us.

“I’ve been wanting to do that since I saw you in this dress,” he admitted, and then kissed me before I could respond.

I clung to his shoulders as his hand slipped down my side, curling around my thigh, just below my hip, leaving behind a wake of shivers.

Lifting his mouth from mine, he breathed heavily. “I told myself I was going to behave tonight.”

My hands clenched over his shoulders, wrinkling the material of his shirt. “You’re not?”

He kissed my jaw. “Well, I was planning on being a gentleman.”


“Why?” I asked, surprising myself.

“Hell. Good question.” His lips moved over my neck as I tipped my head back against the wall. “I’m not even sure.”

I gasped when I felt his tongue circle where my pulse pounded.

“I just can’t keep my hands off you.” He lifted my leg just enough that he was able to settle his hips against my core, and oh God, the ache that blossomed almost made me weep. “Damn,” he groaned, burying his face in my neck. “That didn’t help.”

My chest rose and fell sharply. “No. No, it didn’t.”

A deep groan rumbled out of him, and I felt his hand on my thigh move, slipping under the hem of my skirt. The glide of his palm against my bare skin shook me, pushing a soft moan out from between my parted lips, and that was nothing compared to what came next. He dragged his hand up and over, cupping my rear as he pushed his hips in. Muscles coiled in response.

He dragged his lips up my throat, finding my mouth as his hand kneaded my bottom. The kiss rocked me, and there was little doubt in my mind that I’d stop him if he pulled my panties down and took me right against the wall. The mere thought of him doing so burned my skin, twisted up my insides in a crazy way.

The attraction I felt toward him was startling.

His kiss slowed as he dragged his hand out from under my dress. “Okay,” he murmured. “I told myself I wasn’t going to do this tonight.”

I opened my eyes, barely making out his features in the soft glow radiating from the stairwell light. My heart thundered. I wanted to tell him to ignore what he’d told himself. I was damp between the thighs, ready and wanting. I wanted him.

Colton lowered my leg as he rested his forehead against mine. His chest rose just as rapidly. I didn’t say anything as we both struggled to gain control over what our bodies demanded, but him putting the brakes on where this was heading was obviously the smart thing to do.

All of this felt so fast and I knew it could quickly get out of hand, but I…I wanted it to do that. I liked Colton. I’d liked him in high school. I’d liked him from afar when I’d moved back home. I really, really liked him now.

And that was terrifying.

Chapter 10

Hitting send on the e-mail, I smiled at the computer screen. I’d busted ass since I’d woken up, foregoing showering and even changing out of pajamas until I reached the last page.

The glamorous life of an editor.

Finished with the edits, I pushed out of my chair and picked up a dry erase pen. Carrying it to the whiteboard hung near the desk, I scratched a line over Other Lives. Nothing made me more giddy than marking something off from my to-do list.

Actually, that wasn’t entirely true.

Colton took the top spot of things that made me giddy right about now.

This last week had been…absolutely amazing, almost like I was a teen again or in my early twenties, buzzing around happily. I’d forgotten how it feels, to be…to be caught up in the excitement and anticipation of seeing someone, to actually be feeling something strongly again, because if this week had taught me anything, it was that the last four years had been only about my career and nothing else.

But this week had also taught me a lot more.

Since Colton worked ten-hour shifts, he had three days off—Sunday, Monday, and oddly, Wednesday. Of course, he was on call those days and it didn’t seem like he really had them off. Due to the shooting last week, he was in the office both Monday and Wednesday, following up on leads, but both evenings I spent time with him. Monday was the movies, something I hadn’t really enjoyed since Kevin. Wednesday we grabbed dinner at this restaurant in town, one I’d never been to before because it seemed like a couples kind of place.

Both nights had ended like Sunday night, in a way. He would kiss me at the door, but somehow we ended up on my couch, his body covering mine, his mouth claiming mine, and his hands doing crazy-insane things to my body. Just thinking about it now, as I rolled the pen between my hands, created a heady rush of sensations. I flushed and my body responded as I remembered how his hand felt between my thighs and how easily his skilled caresses worked my body into a frenzy.

And he always stopped before either of us found any release. He was an expert tease. Or maybe he just didn’t want to go that far and—I cut that thought off, slapping it away like it was nothing more than a worrisome fly. That thought didn’t even make sense. It was stupid.

I was done with being stupid.

Besides, things were already progressing crazy fast between us. It made sense that some area of our relationship would be slowed down, which is basically what he’d said. I could and did respect that, and part of me was glad that there was something holding us back. Deep down, I knew I wasn’t ready for that. Well, my body was. I had a feeling that what beat strongly in my chest was also on board, but my head…my head had a hard time letting go of the noxious, poisonous whispers.

I’d never thought of myself as someone who had self-esteem issues. I had my body hang-ups, like any normal woman, but the lack of intimacy and the reintroduction of it shined a really harsh light on the way I viewed myself, on how unconnected I was with my own body.

The way Colton looked at me, how he touched me, drew my focus back to myself. He probably would have no idea what that meant for me…or probably what that was doing to me.